SHAOLIN RED MASTER is a confusingly-plotted kung fu movie that suffers from a typically poor presentation, at least in the western version. The story is convoluted and features numerous sub-plots that never seem to gel or particularly work together. As a case in point, there's an opening sequence which looks at Buddhism and features Phillip Ko as a kung fu fighting monk, but this has nothing to do with the rest of the movie and Ko soon disappears, never to be seen again.
Following this, the plot involves an abandoned child, the hunt for a stolen consignment of ginseng, and a jade Buddha statue. Confused yet? You will be, trying to make head nor tail of the senseless plotting in this film, and to compound the issue the fight scenes aren't even that great, coming across as poorly choreographed and quite repetitive.
The characters are probably the best thing in this film, as they're all quite well drawn and I liked the way each has his or her hidden motivation. There's also an overweight couple who are used to supply comic relief, which is occasionally in quite bad taste. Martial arts expert Chi Kuan-Chun is rarely given a chance to shine in a film that doesn't really have any stand-out fight action, although the final bout with Chang Yi isn't too shabby.
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